I often love to take the scenic route home from 12 News on Van Buren heading to my home in the West Valley and when your route consists of dozens of amazing Mexican restaurants, I must admit, it’s a challenge keeping my eyes on the road.

On my hump day heading home, I couldn’t resist stopping into a delicious Mexican spot in Tolleson I’d been hearing about called George Ahogadas & Dorados. The sign touts the restaurant has the best authentic Guadalajara dishes in the Valley. I must say they didn’t disappoint.

Step inside George’s and you are sure to find something that your taste buds are going to love. Owner…George Santoyo opened the popular spot in Tolleson 4 years ago — but he’s been pushing out tasty tortas and tacos for more than a decade.

He originally started selling these tortas ahogadas out of his home — when his young son was born premature and it was therapy for he and his wife. But something unexpected happened —  they became so popular — George decided to ditch his 9 to 5 job at Waste Management and go after his dream of opening a restaurant with his wife Maritza — who runs the kitchen in the restaurant.

“For us cooking has always been therapy. The doctors suggested me and my wife Maritza do something we love to take stress of us when our son was born. We spent countless hours in the hospital and we would cook food for stress release. We were giving it away at first but then word got out how good it was. Eventually we started selling the food out of the house. But the demand was so big I decided to open a restaurant — and here I am 4 years later,” said Owner George Santoyo.

Abraham Santoyo talks with HFNTV --- about how his Dad George --- started the restaurant.
ABRAHAM SANTOYO TALKS ABOUT WHY THE RESTAURANT HAS BECOME SO POPULAR

George’s son Abraham has grown up around his parent’s tasty tortas and tacos. He helps his parents run the front of the restaurant. He says tortas aren’t the only thing on the menu you’ll love. “We have awesome tacos, tacos durado and carne asada. People really love our flavor. We get people that come all across the area to eat here.”

“My Dad was working at Waste Management and he always wanted more. So he started selling tortas ahogadas when I was really young right out of our house. We gained and a huge following, so the natural next step was to open a restaurant,” said Abraham Santoyo.

Let’s get what we came for at George’s. The Tortas Ahogada. The translation to English basically means a drown torta.

It’s all centered around this special bread. It’s called Bolillo bread. In Jalisco, bolillos are only made in Guadalajara and towns nearby. Because this bread has a harder texture than regular bread, you can drown sumptuous sauce on top. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

First the torta ahogada sandwich is cut open…then beans are put inside….along with mouthwatering carnitas…then it’s literally drown in the is tomato sauce that is seasoned with spices and chili de arbol — to give it a little sweet heat. Then a stack of onions are packed on the plate. Wow take a look at that. There’s a tortas ahogada!!!

It’s no wonder customers like the Ruben Garcia and his family drive all the way from Chandler to come out to the West Valley for the food here. “I really love the meat. They put the right spices in the sauce. It’s just like authentic Guadalajara and Jalisco food,” said Garcia.

But that’s not the only go to thing on George’s menu. The tacos durado is a popular dish for diners here. It’s a crispy taco with carnitas, potatoes inside. Topped with cabbage, onions and salsa.

The sign on the building says it all --- they've got the best Guadalajara food in the Valley --- the restaurant can be found at 9550 W. Van Buren in Tolleson, AZ
The sign on the building says it all — they’ve got the best Guadalajara food in the Valley — the restaurant can be found at 9550 W. Van Buren in Tolleson, AZ
The restaurant has a bevy of tacos including: Cabeza, Carne Asada, Lengua, Tripa, Tacos Al Pastor and Poll
The restaurant has a bevy of tacos including: Cabeza, Carne Asada, Lengua, Tripa, Tacos Al Pastor and Poll

“We love the food here. It is so authentic. We moved here from California years ago and we finally found a place exactly like in Mexico, when it comes to taste,” said Manuel Carmago.

Josefina Carmargo L with her husband Manuel Carmago R
Josefina Carmargo L with her husband Manuel Carmago R

Manuel’s wife Josefina agreed. “It is really good. If you’re looking for authentic food this is the place. We travel to Mexico a lot and this is just like home.”

Owner George Santoyo, says the reason the restaurant has been so popular is the food is authentic and the prices are affordable. “I’ve always pride myself on authenticity,” said Santoyo.

“We also have tacos barbacoa. The tacos have a secret oil that we put on them, that makes them taste amazing. Plus we have awesome traditional things like burritos and enchiladas. We are open every day and serve breakfast all day,” said Abraham Santoyo.

Carne Asada Taco

So if you’re looking for tacos that will really vibe with your taste buds — then check out the spot with the name George on the outside. You may forget the other parts of the name — but I assure you — you won’t forget the delicious taste. Enjoy!

Author: Mike Gonzalez

HFNTV is the creation of journalist, food blogger and influencer Mike Gonzalez. Mike is a full-time news anchor at KPNX NBC 12 in Phoenix, Arizona.